My brother travels a lot; he has been all around the world and he has a talent in changing flats, countries and time zones without losing his thirst for adventures.
He also reads continuously; he devours books – he actually used to chew paper when he was a child and this must have somehow altered his DNA – and keeps voraciously buying new ones.
When he left London for a new continent, I received a huge amount of his volumes, too expensive to ship and impossible to give away.
Two cubic metres of books: mainly essays about development countries and bios of economists that are waiting for me to change career and start reading.
There was also a good amount of travel guides; Lonely Planets, that have been sitting on my shelves for years, reminding me of my relative stillness, until I decided to do what I like doing most with old books: to create a new story for them.
I have recently found out about a fantastic book written by Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi, The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, a catalogue of thousands of fantasy lands, islands, cities described in centuries of world literature.
My adopted collection of old Lonely Planets and this precious anthology of impossible places had to be merged somehow.
This is how my work Guides to Elsewhere began: an ongoing series of imaginary places modelled on the covers and with the pages of travel guides.
I am now working on more books for an exhibition in London next month: www.lindatoigo.com/guides.
The next posts will show how my volumes are created and what they are inspired by.